Predictions 2013, and beyond: Part 11, Closing Statements?

December 23, 2012

{i}From {b}John Salmon{/b}, Partner, Sector Head, Financial Services for Pinsent Masons LLP:{/i}

2013 will be an evolutionary year and not a revolutionary one. Cloud, mobility, social media and big data analytics will again be the central issues informing every CIO’s ‘future of business’ strategy.

Of these four, mobility will be the most debated. Financial and data protection regulators will make it their focus and publish detailed guidance. The guidance provided will get us all talking but will promise more than it will deliver.

As for the European Commission, they will work their way through their cloud strategy action plan with a view to delivering in 2014. In 2015 they will begin thinking about mobility, providing a strategy in 2023 with an aim to deliver in 2053.

{i}From {b}Pearse Ryan{/b}, Partner, Arthur Cox, Dublin{/i}

Predictions for 2013 from the perspective of an Irish IT lawyer:

Serious pick-up in interest amongst the data processing classes in the availability of data/cyber insurance. New products are coming on-stream and the time is right for the market to respond.

An increased focus on ‘big data’ and all that it means for the organisation, whether public or private sector. I mention above the take-up of cyber/data insurance, but another related data area likely to take-off is organisational focus on litigation preparation. The IT lawyer has the core skill set to provide what is a data related service.

The onward march of cloud and especially SAAS services beyond the SME and into the MLE and the public sector. If the vendors up their game in terms of data protection binding rules and loosen the reins a little in terms of T&C risk management provisions, that leaves security unresolved. Security, however, has seldom in my experience been afforded the central role in decision making that it deserves and especially when the alternatives to the cloud are increasingly prone to insecurity, or at least supplier unwillingness to stand-over security breaches.

The beginning of a public sector programme of shared-services, together with a programme of outsourcing, both linked to shared-service projects and free-standing. The outsourcing industry will have to pay a price for these deals, which will not be the traditional one-way traffic, but the deals should come.

Reportedly, during the Irish presidency of the EU Council in H1 2013, there will be a big push to advance the Proposed EU Data Protection Regulation (as the next presidencies will be Lithuania and Greece who have other things on their priority list). We shall wait and see!

The National Lottery Amendment Bill is due to be published before year-end and we are likely to also see the Betting Amendment Bill (which provides for the licensing of online betting operators and betting intermediaries) be enacted in 2013, thereby significantly updating Ireland’s laws on online betting/lotteries/gaming.

3D printers will drop in price, become more accessible and create new IP problems, but also opportunities, for companies creating small, customisable, goods like medical device companies.

One to annoy the IP lawyers – access in the online world will finally finish-off ownership as a workable concept, where goods can be made available online. Once the penny has dropped, previously disrupted industries (i.e. music) will become more stable (and profitable) on their new online platforms (i.e. iTunes).

Finally, an inevitability rather than a prediction – the popularity of mobile devices will continue to rise.

{i}From {b}Stephen Mason{/b}, Barrister, author of Electronic Signatures in Law and general editor of Electronic Evidence and International Electronic Evidence{/i}

Some time ago I predicted there would be a significant increase in both the deliberate destruction and the forgery of electronic evidence. It has come to pass.

It is somewhat surprising that those advising the Prime Minister relating to Andrew Mitchell apparently failed to test the evidence to demonstrate the integrity of the data in an effort to test its trustworthiness, which in turn would then permit a conclusion to be reached about its reliability – tests I formulated for lawyers and judges in 2007, and have since refined.

The woeful approach by some lawyers to provide the proper foundations of electronic evidence in prosecutions and the lamentable failure to challenge the lack of any foundations by defence lawyers is frightening, and has undoubtedly led to a great many injustices. These failures will continue until the legal profession wakes up to the problem. The presumption that a computer is reliable is unjustified, yet the English legal system continues to act as if the presumption is true. This is all the more significant, given that the police intend to use hand-held devices to record statements in the future.

{i}From {b}Professor Richard Susskind OBE{/b}, author, speaker, and independent adviser to major professional firms and to national governments, and President of SCL{/i}

By 2023, I predict that the legal market will have been transformed by what I call ‘disruptive legal technologies’. These are technologies that profoundly challenge and fundamentally change the way that the law is practised and justice is administered. I expect to see more change in the legal world in the next decade than we have seen in the past century. I am referring here not to back office automation but to the ways in which lawyers and judges work and, in turn, the ways in which non-lawyers are advised and solve their legal problems. As for the particular technologies, I have identified 13 of these in my latest work. To pick but four, by 2023: (1) the main way in which non-lawyers will secure legal help will be through ‘online legal guidance’ and only rarely by consulting lawyers; (2) most legal documents will not be drafted by solicitors but by ‘document assembly’ systems; (3) ‘online dispute resolution’ (ODR) techniques, such as e-mediation and e-negotiation, will be used more commonly than the courts to settle disputes; and (4) in relation to document review in litigation and due diligence, ‘intelligent search’ systems, and not junior lawyers and paralegals, will invariably undertake these tasks. Flowing from these changes in the coming 10 years, my present preoccupation is with two questions: First, what jobs will there be for lawyers when disruptive legal technologies fully take hold? And, second, what are we training young lawyers to become?

By 2053, there will be convergence of a wide range of technologies: IT, artificial intelligence (including robotics, natural language processing, expert systems), nanotechnology, and genetics, and these in combination will have revolutionised life on our planet. Human beings will be digitally enhanced, most notably for current purposes with large knowledge bases and sophisticated inference mechanisms. These will be embodied in chips and networks that, in turn, will be embedded in, or remotely accessible by, our brains. If Moore’s Law continues through 2053, the average handheld machine will have more processing power than all of humanity combined. Call me radical, but if we have knowledge bases embedded in our brains and mobile devices with the computing power of billions of people, then it is unlikely that lawyers and judges will still be spending their days handcrafting documents. More likely is that solicitors, barristers, and traditional judges in 2053 will be like tallow chandlers or mercers of today.